Why I Carry Plastic Straws

By Trevor McKendrick 👋 - Have you read my free newsletter?

Recycling is Overrated

California is obnoxious about recycling. Every workplace has approximately 67 trash bins to choose from, so finishing lunch also requires playing a game of real-world Tetris to “properly” dispose of your food. It’s a pain in the ass, but whatever.

Recycling per se isn’t bad. The sin with recycling is 1) fooling ourselves in to thinking we’re actually being helpful, and 2) virtue signaling to others that if they don’t do the same they’re less than.

What would actually help is making materials that are both cheaper and more environmentally friendly than the status quo. Creating things that make people less environmentally impactful without forcing behavioral change on them.

The plastic straw ban is my favorite example of this nonsense.

Many cities have passed laws that make plastic straws illegal. In lieu of like, running their city effectively, lawmakers pat themselves on the back for having done something that is worse than literally doing nothing at all.

I now carry colorful plastic straws in my bag. Yes, it’s as absurd as you think.

But I can’t let San Francisco win this one. They have so many god awful policies that impact me that I can do very little about. This one I can take back for 8 bucks on Amazon and simultaneously turn in to a party trick. SF can make me pay $3,000 for a 1 bedroom apartment but by God it will not make me eat a paper straw to consume my beverage.

Same goes for banning plastic bags. Why can’t we make a bag that’s better instead of imposing our environmental values on the rest of the populous?

The virtue stares I get from strangers when I ask for bags at the Whole Foods checkout are amazing. “I had to carry this old bag back & forth for 3 years to justify its existence and you’re just gonna walk in and pay 10 cents for bags like a non-woke freak?”

Yes. The bags they sell at Whole Foods are both real and spectacular.

In some ways this is all a protest of virtue signaling. We need to create ways of sustaining economic growth that also happen to be OK for the Earth.

Which is totally possible! Let’s just not fool ourselves in to thinking we’re making progress when we pick the right trash bin after lunch.

I now expect approximately half of you to unsubscribe but if you want the right hot takes hey you know where to get ‘em.


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